Reps, Sets, Rest and Weights. How Much Should You Do?

Confused about how many reps, sets, rest and how much resistance you should do? Here's a quick rundown. Rep Ranges. The text-book advice is that if you are trying to build strength you should go for 4 to 6 reps. If you are wanting to build muscle and tone a you should choose 10 to 12 reps. If your goal is more muscular endurance and fat-burning aim to 15 or more reps. Here at, most of our workouts are aimed at fat-burning and creating lean bodies so we use high-rep ranges (usually going for time rather than counted reps). Sets. If you are very new to working out, you may get enough benefit from 1 to 2 sets. However, most active people choose to do 3 sets. Advanced lifters, however, may do as many as 10 sets of a given exercise. Hight sets ranges usually accompany low rep ranges. For example, a bodybuilder may do 8 sets of bench press for 6 reps. Rest. How long you should rest between sets is also dependant on your goals and energy output. If burning fat is your number one goal, obviously, you want to rest as little as possible between sets. This makes your lifting session more cardiovascular. If your aim is to build strength and size you want to make sure you are fully recovered from your last set before beginning again. The heavier and lower the rep ranges, generally the longer recovery you will need. Extremely heavy weights at at a low rep range may require 3 minutes rest. This is how a bodybuilder would train. Some people will time the amount of rest between sets. I advise, instead, to listen to your body. You will feel when your APT stores (the energy stored in your muscles) are replenished. At the beginning of a workout you may not to feel the need to rest much. But as your workout progresses and you fatigue, you may need to take longer rests between sets. Weights. You will notice the above rep ranges are a scale. For example to build muscle you should do 10 to 12 reps. Meaning for this purpose you should chose a resistance in which you can at least make it to 10 but ideally max out at 12. If at rep 12 you are still smiling, the weight is too light. Which ever rep amount you are going for, the last few should be somewhat of a struggle. You should be making an ugly face and maybe even grunting, if that's your thing.      

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